Late yesterday evening, U.S. Congressman Scott Peters (CA-52) spoke with Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julián Castro about progress on updating the Continuum of Care formula that determines how federal homelessness funding is allocated. Secretary Castro indicated that the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) will put forward a proposal in mid-July that goes beyond Rep. Peters’ initial request of reopening the public comment period on the existing formula. Stressing the need for a long term solution, HUD will be seeking comments on specific approaches to modernize the formula. The replacements take into account a number of indicators that better measure a city’s need for resources to address homelessness. HUD will also include an interactive and comparative tool in order for stakeholders and the general public to analyze how each option affects a community's future funding.
"For years I've urged HUD to simply reopen the existing, outdated formula; the plan Secretary Castro laid out today goes beyond that,” Rep. Peters said, “Once this proposal is finalized, we can examine each of these options and determine which will result in the best method to allocate resources to address homelessness. I am grateful for Secretary Castro’s dedication to fixing this formula and to finding a more equitable way to distribute federal homelessness resources.”
Rep. Peters has been fighting for three years to change the formula, which severely disadvantages cities like San Diego and is a significant barrier to the city’s efforts to help the homeless. In 2014, despite having the fifth largest homeless population in the country, San Diego received the 23rd highest level of federal homelessness funding. During today’s call, Sec. Castro thanked Rep. Peters for his continued efforts in ensuring San Diego and cities across the country receive their fair share of funding to end homelessness.
In anticipation of the comment period reopening, Rep. Peters has worked with San Diego’s service organizations, housing providers, and local leaders to educate the community on the federal funding formula and the importance of collaborative input.
Timeline of Congressman Peters’ advocacy to change the funding formula:
- March 2013: Sent a letter to then-HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan advocating for an update to the Continuum of Care funding formula
- November 2013: Sent letter with Representatives Vargas (CA-51) and Davis (CA-53) asking for a comment period to make revisions to the funding formula
- September 2014: Sent letter to HUD Secretary Castro advocating for a funding formula update
- January 2015: Met, and advocated for an update to the funding formula, with Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs Chris O’Connor when Assistant Secretary O’Connor was in San Diego for the annual WeAllCount
- February 2015: Call with officials from HUD and the Department of Veterans Affairs to discuss ending veterans homelessness and revising the outdated federal funding formula
- May 2015: Met with Secretary Castro on Capitol Hill to discuss the funding formula disparity and to advocate for an update, and the chance for San Diego input on the process
- June 2015: Had a call with Secretary Castro to continue advocating for an update to the funding formula
- October 2015: During a visit to San Diego, Secretary Castro announced his intention to reopen public comment on the funding formula
- February 2016: Sponsored an amendment to H.R. 3700 requiring the HUD Secretary to reopen the public comment period on the Continuum of Care funding formula.
- May 2016: Announced commitment from Secretary Castro to reopen public comment period on formula no later than June 21st.
- June 2016: Spoke with Secretary Castro about his plan to provide detailed approaches to replace the formula by mid-July.